United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
R. CHERRY, MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Tim Magura on August 3, 2015, and Plaintiff's
Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security [DE 18], filed by Plaintiff
on February 5, 2016. Plaintiff requests that the Court
reverse the December 18, 2014 decision of the Appeals Council
denying him disability insurance benefits and make a direct
award of benefits or remand for further proceedings. For the
following reasons, the Court grants the request to remand for
23, 2012, Plaintiff Tim Magura filed an application for
disability insurance benefits, alleging disability beginning
June 20, 2006. The claim was denied initially and on
reconsideration. On April 4, 2014, a hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Dennis R.
Kramer. Plaintiff amended his alleged onset date to July 15,
2008. On May 5, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision finding that
(1) Plaintiff was disabled within the meaning of the Social
Security Act from July 15, 2008, through November 30, 2010,
(2) on December 1, 2010, medical improvement occurred that is
related to ability to work and Plaintiff was able to perform
substantial gainful activity until a date certain in December
2011, and (3) Plaintiff was again disabled, this time by
operation of law on the date in December 2011 based upon
non-mechanical application of the framework of the grid
rules. The ALJ made the following findings:
1. The claimant met the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through June 30, 2012.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the amended alleged onset date.
3. Since the amended alleged onset date of disability, July
15, 2008, the claimant has had the following severe
impairments: a history of lumbar fusions with an unstable
lumbar spine, Barret's esophagus, a hiatal hernia, and a
history of a left upper extremity forearm fracture.
4. From July 15, 2008, the amended alleged onset date,
through November 30, 2010, the claimant's lumbar spine
impairment medically equaled Listing 1.04 in 20 CFR Part 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 1.
5. The claimant was under a disability, as defined by the
Social Security Act, from July 15, 2008 through November 30,
6. The claimant has not developed any new impairment or
impairments since December 1, 2010, the date the
claimant's disability ended. Thus, the claimant's
current severe impairments are the same as those present from
July 15, 2008 through November 30, 2010.
7. Since December 1, 2010, the claimant has not had an
impairment or combination of impairments that meets or
medically equals the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
8. Medical improvement occurred as of December 1, 2010, the
date the claimant's disability ended.
9. The medical improvement that has occurred is related to
the ability to work because the claimant no longer has an
impairment or combination of impairments that meets or
medically equals the severity of a listing.
10. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that since December 1, 2010, the claimant
has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary
work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) except that he can
continuously and frequently lift and carry up to ten pounds,
occasionally lift and carry up to fifteen pounds, sit for two
hours at a time, stand/walk for thirty minutes at a time, sit
for six hours in an eight-hour workday, stand/walk for a
combination of two hours in an eight-hour workday with all
walking being at a slow pace without the need for use of a
cane, he cannot walk a block at a reasonable pace on a rough
or uneven surface, he can frequently reach, handle, finger,
feel, push, and pull with the bilateral upper extremities,
frequently operate foot controls with the feet, never climb
ladders, ropes, scaffolds, ramps, or stairs, balance, stoop,
crouch, or crawl, occasionally kneel, and he is further
limited to work which never requires exposure to vibration,
unprotected heights, moving mechanical parts, or operation of
a commercial vehicle, requires no more than occasional
exposure to extreme cold or heat, no concentrated exposure to
dust, odors, fumes and pulmonary irritants, and no more than
moderate exposure to noise.
11. Since December 1, 2010, the claimant has been unable to
perform any past relevant work.
12. From December 1, 2010 until December [ ], 2011, the
claimant was a younger individual age 45-49. Applying the age
categories non-mechanically, and considering the additional
adversities in this case, on December [ ], 2011, the
claimant's age category changed to an individual closely
approaching advanced age.
13. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English.
14. From December 1, 2010 to December [ ], 2011,
transferability of job skills is not material to the
determination of disability because using the
Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding
that the claimant is “not disabled” whether or
not the claimant has transferable job skills. Beginning on
December [ ], 2011, the claimant has not been able to
transfer job skills to other occupations.
15. From December 1, 2010 to December [ ], 2011, the date the
claimant's age category changed, considering the
claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual
functional capacity, there were jobs that existed in
significant numbers in ...